An opera is a drama set to music and consists of singing accompanied by an orchestra playing overtures and interludes. The voices of the opera singers can be overwhelming with emotion and it has been known for people to cry at operas.

Operas are usually performed in their original language, but with modern opera houses and the help of technology, some opera houses assist the audience with ‘supertitles’ words that are projected over or near the stage and at the famous opera house in Milan, La Scala, words are shown on individual screens attached to the backs of the seats.

Teatro San Cassiano in Venice, Italy was the first public opera house which opened in 1637. Opera has always been popular to a variety of people through the centuries.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, opera houses were often financed by rulers, nobles, and wealthy people who used patronage of the arts to endorse their political ambitions and social positions or prestige. By the 19th century, European culture moved away from its patronage system to the more publicly-supported system and in the 2000s, most opera and theatres raise funds from a combination of grants from the government, ticket sales and even private donations.

Click on one of the samples below.